War Crimes Suspect Hadzic Pleads Not Guilty

Posted August 24th, 2011 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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The former leader of Croatia's ethnic Serbs, Goran Hadzic, has pleaded not guilty at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Hadzic entered his plea Wednesday after refusing to do so during his initial appearance before the court last month.

The 52-year-old Hadzic faces 14 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his involvement in the Balkans conflict of the early 1990s. He was arrested last month and extradited to The Hague after seven years on the run. He is charged with ordering the killing of hundreds of non-Serbs in Croatia and deporting thousands of others.

Hadzic was the last remaining fugitive sought by the Hague-based tribunal. He was arrested two months after authorities captured former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic, who is on trial for genocide for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim males.

Hadzic's delivery to the tribunal following the arrest of Mladic and of Serb wartime political leader Radovan Karadzic three years earlier, removed a key obstacle to Serbia's bid to open negotiations with the European Union for membership in the grouping.